What is Erasure Coding?!

So a couple things have happened recently that have peaked my interest in Erasure Coding.

Firstly, I have started working on a new project where I am now working with a new Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure system know as VxRail.   VxRail was developed by VMware and Dell EMC and utilizes the VMware Hyper-Converged Software (vSAN, vSphere and vCenter).


One of its best-known storage features when using an all-flash configuration for VxRail is Erasure Coding, which can protect data while using less storage space than RAID 1 mirroring.


There is also a VxRail Capacity Calculator you can play with to see the varying results of using all-flash compared to a hybrid configuration which cannot leverage Erasure Coding.


Secondly today, I noticed a vBrownbag colleague of mine Rebecca Fitzhugh wrote on her blog Technicloud, “Understanding Erasure Coding with Rubrik“.


I read the blog and watched the Rubrik video, and I highly recommend you please do check out Rebecca’s blog as she does a great job explaining the subject, and how it is used by the data management company Rubrik.

So in a nutshell what is Erasure Coding?

Erasure coding (EC) is a method of data protection in which data is broken into fragments, expanded and encoded with redundant data pieces and stored across a set of different locations or storage media.  — TechTarget.com


In summary:

  1. Data protection technologies are evolving
  2. Erasure Coding seems to be a good alternative for some use cases.
    • Especially when considering using large capacity drives (8TB+), and where a rebuild can take days or even weeks.
  3. Just remember, one-size does not fit all and there are no silver bullets.

As in all things IT, it depends, use the appropriate data protection technology that best makes sense for your particular business requirements.


About wmichel

Cloud Architect, NetApp A-Team, vExpert, VMUG Leader, AWS-SAA, TOGAF, ITIL, CISSP, USMC, Mariachi, Gaucho-Texano & Dad A seasoned architect and technologist at heart that loves innovation and playing with cloud computing, data center virtualization, operating systems, and information security.
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